Tag Archive for: Zinfandel

Napa Valley Wine Reviews and Ratings

03 Jan
January 3, 2013

A Tale of Two Mountain Wines

One of the many things that intrigue me about wine is how the geography and environmental conditions of grapes can influence its “personality” so greatly – even within the same region. Mountain-sourced wines are especially known for their structure and ageability due to the stress the vines endure during the growing process. In higher elevations, rainfall drains to the valley below, making these grapes much more concentrated. To our benefit, this produces truly unique and complex wines.

Heading into New Year’s Eve, we opened two drastically different Napa Valley mountain icons.

Wine Reviews and Ratings
  • Vieux-OS 2009 Old Vine Zinfandel (Black Sears Vineyard) – Schrader Cellars produces this full-bodied wine from 35-year-old Howell Vieux-OS 2009Mountain vines. Zinfandel is known for its spice and bright fruit but this one really stood out for its pepper notes. Wine tasting can be a fairly subjective experience, but everyone in my group paused and commented on the pepper domination. I also noticed subtle hints of blackberry and oak. I have to call out that this wine is available by invitation from Schrader or through specialty channels, but figured some of my readers may be cellaring this and curious to know how it’s drinking currently.  Rating: 3.5. Read more →

Weekend Roundup: Napa Wine Ratings and Reviews

17 Dec
December 17, 2012

Selections from Buehler Vineyards, Frank Family Vineyards, Grgich Hills and Heitz Cellar

Holiday parties and group BYOB restaurant outings offer great excuses for tasting a variety of wines. (They also are the reason it’s taken me longer than usual to write.) I’m excited to share four wine ratings and reviews from some of Napa Valley’s most iconic wineries.

Wine Ratings and Reviews
  • Grgich Hills Estate 2008 Fume Blanc – This is a great varietal and a crisp, refreshing wine to start with. It’s light and straw colored, having gone through all stainless-steel fermentation. (Ahem, this means it’s a great pick for those who want a non-oaky, non-buttery but still complex wine.) Aromas and flavors of citrus (grapefruit) and lemongrass are most prominent. Fun fact: Grgich Hills was the site of my first-ever tasting in Napa Valley. Rating: 4.25

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A Weekend of Wine; a Bounty of Reviews

19 Nov
November 19, 2012

Five Napa Valley Wine Reviews

Every so often, we enjoy what I call a “Weekend of Tasting” with the goal of sharing a series of Napa Valley wine reviews. This usually involves gathering with a few others who equally appreciate the beauty each bottle brings and are open to reaching into the far corners of their cellars to share their favorite picks with the group. This past weekend, we spent time with family in Michigan and opened some pretty wonderful wines. Five of my top Napa picks are well worth recommending:

  • Laird 2009 Cold Creek Chardonnay – Those who enjoy true, oaky, buttery Chardonnays (like me, on occasion) will like this Carneros-sourced wine. Added flavors of honeysuckle and lavender elevated its sweetness. Rating: 4.25 points. Read more →

Preparing Your Thanksgiving Day Pours

18 Nov
November 18, 2012

Holiday and Gift Wine Ideas

With Thanksgiving and the holiday season upon us, it’s time to start thinking about wines to accompany festive meals or give as gifts. I’ve pulled some of the selections from my recent #GiftWinePick posts on Twitter, which include a range of delicious, crowd-pleasing options you can find in most areas. I’ll plan to share more of these ideas throughout the next few weeks.

While you may not be able to locate these specific vintages at your local store, these wineries deliver fairly consistent, high-quality wines each year. Hopefully, you will be just as pleased with their other options. Prices are approximate and based on the listing prices I found in Chicago-area shops.

Wine Reviews